'I cannot believe what just happened': Egan Bernal in disbelief after first Grand Tour stage win at Giro d'Italia 2021

The Colombian skipped up the gravel roads to cross the finish line first and also take the maglia rosa

Egan Bernal at the 2021 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty)

It's one of those stats that almost beggars belief but as Egan Bernal crossed the finish line having danced away from his GC rivals on stage nine of the Giro d'Italia, he took his first-ever Grand Tour stage win.

Emerging from a mountain tunnel and onto the final gravel kilometres - the return of fans at the side of the barriers up to the finish line a most welcome sight - Bernal launched and brought back the escapees who had desperately been trying to hang on to steal the stage.

The Colombian powered away, no-one able to even attempt to catch him, and as Groupama-FDJ's Attila Valter dropped away behind, Bernal's winning margin was enough to also take the maglia rosa for the first time in his career.

“I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour," Bernal said after the finish.

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"I made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am now. I was thinking I would do well today but I was not sure whether I could win the stage."

Bernal finished seven seconds ahead of Trek-Segafredo's Guilio Ciccone on the stage, with Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) leading Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) home three seconds later, the rest of the GC group only two seconds further behind.

Now, Bernal leads Evenepoel by 15 seconds in the overall classification, tripling his previous advantage, while Vlasov lies in third, six seconds back.

"My team-mates had a lot of confidence in me, they told me I could do it: this victory is for them, they really believe in me," Bernal said, riding his debut Italian Grand Tour.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider should now have a couple of days off, tomorrow's stage being much flatter before Tuesday's rest day, then followed by a medium mountain day on Wednesday's stage 11 to bring us into the second week of racing.

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